Family Situations Can Change Often

Time flies by faster than you think, but this is not merely an observation about life. The fact of the matter is, what works for you and your family today may not make sense tomorrow, or in a few years from now. Maintaining and updating your estate plan very important, there could be updates needed to your will, trust or beneficiary designations based on the current dynamic of your family.

Just as an example, let’s say you are married with a couple of younger children.  Your parents are still living, but maybe you don’t get along with them the way you used to.  In this example, it makes sense to designate your children and your spouse as a beneficiary in your will.  It seems like common sense.  However, that is only your life today.

Now let’s fast forward a decade or two.  More likely than not, your kids are grown up and on their own. Maybe you are also married to someone else, and they too may have children, younger or older.  Your parents may or may not still be living, and maybe you and your parents put your differences aside and you are ready to bring them back into your life.

But wait a minute!  That same will, trust, and beneficiary designations that you setup a few years ago is suddenly looking out of date, and the people you care about may not be adequately provided for.  When you name a beneficiary to an account, the funds go straight to that person when you pass away, rather than having to go through a probate process. Did you know that a beneficiary designation trumps any language in a will or trust? At the same time, you do not want to wait until it is too late to change your policies to reflect your current family situation.  Unfortunately, “too late” sometimes comes when we least expect it. Don’t make this common estate planning error.

What is there to update and how do I do it?

It is much easier to name the correct beneficiaries now than to have your heirs try to figure it out later.  Double-check your beneficiaries early and often – it is easy to do. Have your account information handy and call the customer service department for your retirement and other investment accounts, insurance policies, or any other accounts with a beneficiary. Many times, this information can also be verified online.

If you want to update any of your beneficiary designations, the forms to do so can oftentimes be found online, or you can call the company and they will send you a form to fill out. The form might request the new beneficiaries’ social security numbers.  You may also need a signature from your spouse.

Make sure you are looking – and planning – a step ahead.  Designate your assets for the loved ones you want to receive them today, not 20 years ago.  At The Probate Pro, we will work with you to craft a forward-looking plan that accounts for the changes in life.  Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you.

Contact us today to start planning: 248.399.3300 or